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A Few Words on Guns

As I mentioned in my earlier post, over 1000 people, 1000 Americans, have died since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Those of you who follow this blog know that I am a trauma surgeon. We trauma surgeons have this annoying habit of always trying to do better. We look at our outcomes, both our good cases and our bad cases, and try to see what we could have done better. Should that patient have gone to the operating room sooner? Did that patient need antibiotics? It is because of these kinds of questions that centers around the country are enjoying phenomenal outcomes.

As a country, the United States needs to examine itself. What can we, the United States of America, do better? One of the areas that we must improve has to be the area of gun violence. We are losing too many young men and women to gun violence. This cannot be about gun manufacturers making money. It has to be about Americans trying to live out their lives without being shot! If the Constitution, by some interpretation, states that we cannot have common sense gun reform, then we need to change the Constitution. Life in the United States is a lot different than it was in the late 1700s. For the most part, in the late 1700s people more worried about dying from cholera, scarlet fever, smallpox or other communicable diseases and were not worried about being shot and killed. That is no longer the case in our United States. Things have changed and, if necessary, our Constitution should change also.

I’m not going to listen to the naysayers who claim that we simply can’t get this done. As I read the polls, the majority of Americans want some sort of legislation. We have to pressure senators and congressmen who simply want to hold on to the status quo. The status quo is not good enough anymore.

Let’s not focus on those on the fringes of this debate. There are those on the left who want to remove all guns from our society. I simply don’t think that is realistic and I don’t personally know any serious liberals who are actually saying this. I have no desire to remove guns from those who are using their guns lawfully. On the other hand, I will not listen to ranting of the other side of the spectrum. Those who believe that everyone should have a gun. or better yet, that everyone MUST have a gun, do not offer credible argument. There is no slippery slope. No one will be going through your house and taking your guns. That’s not going to happen. Don’t buy into crazy scare tactics. Australia went after guns. They have a love affair with guns just as we do and they were able to pass meaningful legislation. We can pass thoughtful, meaningful legislation also. Guns aren’t a conservative or a liberal idea. Controlling guns should cut across party lines. Let’s get this done.

By |2013-01-18T23:15:36-04:00January 18th, 2013|Congress, Mass Shooting, Party Politics|12 Comments

More on the Conservative Tax Rant

There is a lot to talk about today. I thought the President Obama’s speech was outstanding. Many people talked about it (here, here and here). I really don’t want to rehash that. Sarah Palin released an eight-minute video yesterday. The contrast between her and President Obama could not have been greater. There was also this national scene of unity in Tucson. I find it interesting that House Majority Leader John Boehner decided, in spite of a presidential invitation, not to attend. He had a scheduling conflict. He had a fundraiser to attend. This wasn’t mandatory but I think it reveals one’s priorities. I really don’t want to talk about his priorities either. I would like to go back to the Conservative Tax Rant. (see my previous post)

(And to think, we left British Rule to avoid so many taxes)

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago…..
And our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt….
We had the largest middle class in the world…..
And Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

We did not leave colonial rule because of “so many taxes.” Instead, we left colonial rule because of taxation without representation. Now you could argue that our representatives are not representing us anymore. I think that’s a fair argument. Who would you blame for that? It seems to me that you should blame yourself. The fact is that we aren’t involved in our political process except for once every 2-4 years where we go and vote. We are unaware of 99% of the votes that are taken in our state capitals or in Washington DC. We simply don’t pay attention.

I’m not sure that I want to go back the way it was 100 years ago. There were no cars, there were no trucks. There were no roads. If you wanted to go from point A to point B, you took your trusty horse or you rode the train. Those were your two options. Most houses did not have electricity. Most houses did not have running water. Cholera, pertussis and influenza killed tens of thousands of Americans every year. Whooping Cough, chickenpox and smallpox remained deadly diseases. Most Americans lived on farms. There was no middle class, unless you are going to count farmers as middle-class. As a matter fact, 1911 is right in the middle of the great migration into American cities. Where is the data purporting that we were the most prosperous country in the world in 1911? Maybe Britain was (having tons of colonies gathering raw materials for your factories has to be good for something), but I doubt that anyone would say that the US was the most prosperous country in the world.

America had no national debt because as a nation we were a third world country. It took us another 30 years to catch up to Britain and France. It took us two world wars before we are propelled into the international scene as the top dog.

So, the author suggests that our utopia awaits when we throw off the yoke of all of these taxes. Sweet! All we need to do to attain this utopia is to move back to the farm and start raising chickens and milking cows. Of course, you can raise cattle. This is the utopia that is being offered – no thanks. I’ll take my modern medicines, which are highly regulated and which have increased our life expectancy by more than 30 years! I’ll take my state and national highway system, which allows me to drive my taxed, highly regulated, seat belted, airbagged, safety glassed, antilock braked, far safer car all across the country. If I decide to fly across the country, there’s a high likelihood that my plane will not fall out of the sky because of regulations and taxes. If, when I get to my destination, I decide to go for a swim in the local lake or stream, there’s a high likelihood it should not spontaneously ignite because regulations and taxes have cleaned up our waters. Heck, for the most part, I can probably drink out of the lake – but I won’t.

This rant, this conservative rant is the conservative movement over the last 40 years in a nutshell. The underlying tone is that government is bad. Nothing can be further from the truth. Too much government can stifle creativity and, a favorite conservative buzzword, innovation. Not enough government can leave the citizens vulnerable to abuses by the powerful. Whether it is poison water, contaminated foods or dangerous products, government protects us from all of these.

More on this rant tomorrow.

By |2011-01-13T20:14:21-04:00January 13th, 2011|Domestic Issues, Party Politics, Taxes|Comments Off on More on the Conservative Tax Rant
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